In 2001 a handful of us met in a boardroom and came up with the idea of hosting a film festival. Eventually we came up with some funding and a name: Damah, which means "a transforming metaphor," and put the word out that we were looking for short films that explored spirituality and the meaning of life. We received hundreds of films that year and in subsequent years the festival has moved back and forth between Seattle and Los Angeles. And thus The Damah Film Festival was birthed.
This year we have tried something radically different from past years: we moved our entire film submission process online, meaning filmmakers were required to submit online instead of the usual DVD's, VHS's and DigiBeta's. We also worked out a system for our jurors to judge the films online and opened up the process to allow online voting by the general public as well, with the jurors and public's voting each making up 50% of the final scores the films will receive.
With so much of the process migrating online, there was some talk of doing away with the actual physical festival altogether, but we decided to go ahead with it anyway, as we still see the value, even in an age of long-distance, net-based communication, of the face-to-face human interactions that have always grounded Damah.
In many ways Damah represents well the sea-change that is happening in all forms of media as we all try to navigate the waters of a new era in which we find out what the internet can and can't do. As such, we expect to have a sort of mini-festival this year, with so much of what normally happened in the past on the ground happening in cyberspace, and yet still gathering together with a smaller group in person to watch films together and celebrate the award-winners' works.
In addition to watching the best of this year's submissions, we'll also be screening two full-length feature films, The Least Of These, and Lord, Save Us From Your Followers. So, if you're in the Seattle area, or you have some unused frequent flyer miles, join us on October 2-3 at the Experience Music Project for a great time-you can purchase tickets here. And if you can't make it, you can still watch and judge the films here.